Today marks the beginning of Lent season, the 40 days period leading up to Easter, which World Olivet Assembly (WOA) churches observe as a time to reflect on Jesus' walk to the cross, especially the passage of the Gospel of John chapters 13 to 20. The lead verse for the first day is John 13:1 where it says: "It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end."
Jesus had come as the Word of God that became flesh and lived among us. Through every word and deed in his life, he revealed the love of the Father in Heaven who sent Jesus, His one and only son, into the world. Preaching, teaching and healing the sick, Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God and brought hope and a new life to the many people who followed him.
But he was rejected by the religious leaders, betrayed by one of his own disciples, he was falsely accused, sentenced, mocked, tortured and put to death on the cross. As John writes in chapter 1:10-11: "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him."
Nevertheless, even though Jesus knew what was going to happen, it says "he loved them to the end." Overcoming all fear and being obedient to the very end, Jesus revealed God's love for sinful man to the full extent.
"In order to deeply understand the sacrifice that Jesus made throughout his life and especially in the last days when he faced unimaginable suffering and even death, we want to use these forty days to reflect on the path of the cross and its meaning for us personally. We encourage our members to take time every day to read John 13-20 verse by verse and chapter by chapter, starting with the scene of Jesus washing his disciples' feet to the moment he died on the cross and after that taste the glorious resurrection," said Pastor Mark Spisak, General Secretary of WOA.
"It is when we pray and read these passages that we can better grasp the love of the Lord, but also his loneliness in the last hours of his life when everyone deserted him and he had to overcome by faith. When we truly realize that Jesus Christ walked this path for us personally, that he loved us even though we were sinners, that he gave his life for us even though we did not deserve it, then our hearts will be filled with overwhelming gratitude and joy and then the resurrection becomes truly meaningful as we receive new life through the love of Christ who overcame even death," Pastor Spisak continued, and added: "It is my heartfelt prayer that we will meet the Lord more deeply and that we will commit our lives again with greater determination to follow his example, take up our cross and dedicate ourselves, so that one more soul can be saved through the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ."